algorithmic supercomputer pointed at my brain
I’m becoming technologically symbiotic with my iPhone. It’s partly terrifying, but my recent screen time has been atleast 6 hours daily. I know some people are much worse.
The trend is that we are escaping into the virtual. Software is eating the world. I’m all in favour of this. The internet allows us to form communities where geographic distance becomes secondary to geodesic distance (find your ‘tribe’), it allows for permission-less leveraged creation, it allows for curiosity driven learning and tinkering. The iPhone has abstracted many tools into a single clean interface. I like this.
Screentime is not bad.
Screen time is not bad. It’s too general a term. Screen time can encompass hours scrolling on Tik Tok or Twitter, or hours spent reading insightful blogs/books, watching informational YouTube videos, creating music, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, programming.
I don’t like the meme that screen time is bad. But what tends to happen is, since I am carrying this supercomputer around 24/7, there is almost no friction to accessing Twitter/TikTok at the tap of a button. It’s too easy to fall into the shallows.
How the smartphone is altering habits of life
I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket - Veruca Salt
I’m not a luddite. I like my smartphone. These are simply observations
I noticed I would be on my phone during a conversation. That is a signal that the conversation is not a priority. Your attention is scattered and you are not truly paying attention to the other person. I’ve been in groups where everyone is just staring at their phone. I’ve been conscious of this, but I don’t want this to become a habit.
We are novelty seeking creatures. I find that I am skimming a lot more and searching for new content, rather than deeply absorbing what already exists. Serendipity is valuable, but the ratio of discovery-understanding is skewed.
Work follows you home
My WhatsApp rang at 4am one time. It was the surgical reg (who works in Nottingham) calling me thinking I was on a night shift. With email, I find myself checking work email at home. There is no longer a separation. I am 100% accessible to all the people I give my phone number out to 100% of the time.
Boredom is suppressed
I’ve spent 30 days on a meditation retreat, as well as several shorter ones before - silence, no tech, no books, no speaking. Just sit and walk.
Reality is incredibly interesting. There is beauty in the mundane. Instead of paying attention to sounds( the birds outside right now) or just looking at people on the train, it is becoming easier to be glued to the virtual. Distraction as a default.
Boredom is essential for creativity and mental sanity.
So how can I ensure that as a default that I spend time meaningfully, rather than waste fully?
You can never understand your relationship to a substance or behaviour until you get off it